On Thursday, Jane Addams Middle School students learned to be more cautious about who they communicate with online.
The students, many of whom admitted to having large social networks, listened to a seminar led by Will County State's Attorney's office Chief Investigator David Margliano.
“You cannot possibly know who you are dealing with all the time,” Margliano said. “You do not know everyone on your list. You do not know everyone who you chat with on-line.”
Margliano discussed a variety of issues, driving home each topic with specific incidents and case studies.
Regarding bullying, he firmly said, “if you know someone is being bullied, you need to report that,” adding that bullying has changed to a 24-hour-a-day, 7-day-a-week problem because of the internet.
He also talked about social media use, stating that today’s teens “post way too much information on-line." He advised the students to keep their personal information and thoughts to themselves.
Margliano warned students never to use a webcam and never send photos to someone they don’t know. He also suggested that inadvisable postings can lead to college entry issues or problems finding a job.
“Anything you post on the internet is there for good even if you delete it,” he said. “Today’s college students and recent college graduates are often finding that in their race to find career opportunities a job opportunity is blocked by a photo or story about drunken parties that they or their friends posted on-line.”
The child exploitation expert suggested teens follow a simple rule: only post things you would be proud to show your grandparents.
“Know what you’re doing when you’re on-line,” he said. “Don’t do something silly.”